The origin of 420 is a little hazy, but in the past 50 years 420 has gone from being a legend about a group of California high school students to a full-blown stoner holiday celebrated around the world. There are best bud competitions, smokeouts in parks and appearances by Snoop Dogg. As more places have legalized recreational marijuana, the 420 celebrations have only gotten bigger and better. These are five of the world’s best.
Pot souvenirs at the Denver airport. (Photo: Brennan Linsley/AP)
Denver is the new Amsterdam, and the Mile High city is now the best place in the world to celebrate 4/20. Denver hosts a rally in downtown and the three-day High Times Cannabis Cup — the biggest 4/20 party on earth.
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The Cannabis Cup used to be held in Amsterdam each November, but as Amsterdam has gotten less marijuana friendly, Denver has taken its place as the marijuana capital of the world.
Christiania, the Green Light District of Copenhagen. (Photo: Kieran Lynam
Some places have red light districts. Christiania has a Green Light District. Christiania is a hippie enclave located in the Christianshavn section of Copenhagen, Denmark. It is home to about 1,000 people. Cars aren’t allowed. Hard drugs aren’t permitted. And cameras aren’t tolerated. But openly selling marijuana is.
Christiania is operated under special law as a free enclave within Copenhagen, and the open cannabis trade has been allowed to thrive, making it a more off-the-beaten track smoker’s destination than Amsterdam. Christiania is like no other place in the world to raise a joint for 4/20.
A pot shop on wheels in Prague. (Photo: Alamy)
The Czech capital is one of the most beautiful cities in the world to be in when Prague’s astronomical clock hits 4/20. The Czech people were trailblazers when it comes to medical marijuana, and today the Czech Republic is one of the most tolerant of marijuana. You won’t find Amsterdam-style coffee shops or American-style marijuana shops. But you will find bars where ordering marijuana is almost as easy as ordering a beer, and you’ll find plenty of local street foods for when the munchies hit.
Sign of the times in Amsterdam (Photo: AP)
Amsterdam isn’t the marijuana Mecca it once was, but it’s still a pretty cool place to smoke up. Marijuana isn’t technically legal in Amsterdam, but it’s so well-accepted that coffee shops catering to marijuana smokers began popping up in the 1970s. Several of these coffee shops still dot the city, which happens to be one of Europe’s most beautiful.
And while its last Cannabis Cup was cancelled in November, Amsterdam offers one thing even Denver can’t: public cafes where you can not only buy your marijuana, but also sidle up the bar, order a coffee and smoke a joint.
A San Francisco shop window. (Photo: Eric Risberg/AP)
It’s only natural to expect a place called Hippie Hill to fill up with marijuana smoke on 4/20, and that’s exactly what happens in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park each year on 4/20, and probably a few other days, too. While recreational marijuana isn’t legal in California, medical marijuana is legal and city officials have historically tolerated the gathering, allowing it to become of the most popular unofficial 4/20 parties in America.
A marijuana shop in Seattle. (Photo: Getty Images)
There’s a whole new reason to call Seattle the Emerald City. Washington was the second U.S. state to legalize marijuana, and this is the first year its recreational marijuana shops have been open on 4/20. While Seattle doesn’t celebrate quite like Colorado, it is hosting a 420 fest complete with music, joint-rolling lessons, dinner, drinks, and a chocolate fountain. Its legal marijuana shops also have been been putting some of the area’s most popular strains on sale ahead of 4/20.
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